There are a million and one decisions that go into designing a kitchen; appliances, cabinets, door handles, paint colors, and fixture finishes. But, believe it or not, one of the most defining features of your kitchen is the color and style of your backsplash. Bold or neutral, plain or patterned – this element is going to make a statement for anyone who walks into your kitchen.

Since this piece is so important, the problem then arises of how do I decide what to go with? For starters, you have to take all of the other elements in the room into consideration. The easiest route is to design the rest of the kitchen, and then tackle the backsplash. However, if you have a dream backsplash in mind, chose that, and design the remainder of your kitchen around that. Keep in mind though, it should be the element that ties everything else together – if you have brushed metal fixtures, do not chose a backsplash with chrome or gold. If you have chosen dark cabinets, it is recommended to add a brighter backsplash to lighten up the space.

Good news! There is a huge variety; from tiles, to granite pieces, to metals, to marble – backsplashes are now designed out of anything or everything. Even my personal favorite – sea glass – imagine what a statement that could make paired with a fresh white cabinet! All this variety gives you a range of colors – make sure to coordinate – but try not to match – you never want to overdo a good thing – and in reality, you will never match perfectly either!

Not only color and materials, but sizes and shapes. You always want to keep in mind the size of the space you are working with – if you have a smaller area, you don’t want to go with a tile that is too big, and you won’t be able to repeat many times throughout the space – and at the same time, if you have a huge space, don’t go with a small subway tile that will look overly busy when lined up across the wall.

Once you have chosen the color and size, then you get to decide how to arrange the material. A subway tile can be used vertically, not always horizontal like is expected. A small rectangle piece of granite doesn’t always have to be symmetrical, it could even be arranged in a herringbone pattern.

All in all, the options are endless. Keep in mind like we mentioned earlier, this is going to be a huge statement, no matter how bold or muted you go – but it is also something you are a going to be living with for a long time – so make sure to get samples, test things out, and fall in love before you start installing!